Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Laudem Gloriae

"Like Magdalene at the Master's  feet ask Him to set you free."
"God so loves to see a soul recognize its weakness .... and God embraces this nothingness."
"I have a profound compassion for souls that live only for this world and its trivialities; I consider them as slaves."
"Shake off the yoke that weighs you down; these bonds that chain you to yourself and to things less than yourself."
"The happy ones of this world choose the Cross."
"We experience peace when we place our joy in suffering."

From "The greatness of our vocation" paragraphs 5 and 6.

Elizabeth of the Trinity

"The soul that is aware of its greatness transcends all things, including self."
"The secret of happiness is to deny oneself always."
"A good way to kill pride is to let it starve to death."
"Love of God must be so strong that it extinguishes all our self-love."

From "The greatness of our vocation" paragraph 4.

Blessed Elizabeth

"We must live on the supernatural level .... A supernatural soul never deals with secondary causes but with God alone."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Why do we cry?

Lacrymosa dies illa,
 qua resurget ex favilla,
 judicandus homo reus.
 Huic ergo parce, Deus.

That day is one of weeping,
 on which shall rise from the ashes
 the guilty man, to be judged.
 Therefore, spare this one, O God.

Pie Jesu Domine:
 dona eis requiem.

Merciful Lord Jesus:
 grant them peace.
Today we share in the grief and sorrow of the mothers of the children whose lives were so senselessly ended two days ago. The nation is in mourning. We are shocked and numbed. As if reality had ceased and we were placed in some sort of limbo. Our appetite is gone, life tastes bland. and yet we eat.

It is struggle to walk up the stairs. All our thoughts are turned to the children. We cry and the tears roll down our cheeks and fall... We stop crying, but it is as if the tears are still flowing from our eyes.

For a moment we forget our sadness and then we are called back to that reality. and we feel guilty that we have let one moment pass without mourning. We cannot cry enough tears to express our sadness. A child's laughter and lively step reminds us again of our loss.

It is a feeling of emptiness. As if all the air was sucked out of our lungs. And there is a sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach. As if the world had been turned upside down. A dizziness and nausea.

Instinctively, our thoughts turn to God. We cry out inside. A cry which is a prayer, a lament, like a sorrowful psalm.

Today the Church seemed more crowded than usual. I was in such a state of confusion that I arrived a half hour late and missed the scripture readings and the homily. The prayers of intercession were for the children and their families. Afterwards the eucharist seemed more solemn than usual.

Every prayer and every hymn took on a new meaning. After Mass I prayed a Rosary for the children and their families, repeating the words... "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.... at the hour of our  death.... at the hour of our death...." "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven.... lead all souls to Heaven.... lead all souls to Heaven.... "

I drove home more slowly than usual, as if I were in a funeral procession I suppose.

I recalled this version of Dies Irae which I had recorded over a year ago, but never posted. It seemed too morbid perhaps. Or it spoke too clearly of the Judgement Day and this is something that we just don't speak about out of concern that others in society might think that we are losing touch with reality. Today death and final judgement are all too much a part of our reality.

Today even nature seems to be in mourning. The sky is grey. It is cold and damp and the seagulls hover above in the chilly air. Although it is day, it feels more like night.

It is the season of Advent. But it does not feel like the advent of the child Jesus, instead it is the advent of the Second Coming. We celebrate both in the Church but this year it is especially His triumphant return at the end of the ages when we will all be judged according to how we have lived our lives that the Holy Spirit seems to be directing our attention towards.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cruise to Hell

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
 -- Romans 3:23-25
Michael Voris is at it again. This time the topic is Hell. And Michael pulls no punches and doesn't try to dance around the issues. That's the great thing about Michael V. He's direct and there is no ambiguity in his commentaries. He's not always the most charitable and I think this can be a real problem at times.

But when it comes to the topic of Hell, his approach is the only one that makes any sense for Catholics to take. Although, it doesn't usually work out very well in social conversations. It's hard to convince those who don't believe in Hell or think that everyone is going to Heaven that they are just fooling themselves. Maybe a look of pity at the right time is all we can do to express our thoughts in an effective way.

And on the other side of the debate is Father Barron. Not my favorite priest. I would describe him as lukewarm. He is always accommodating to the secular culture and that to me is a warning sign. Any truly faithful Catholic should be well aware that we are in a culture war and on one side is the authentic Catholic Church and on the other side is the popular culture. If you find yourself getting very good press from the popular press then you should consider that you are way off the mark. I don't think Michael Voris is getting any great reviews in any popular media. Father Barron on the other hand fits right in and he seems to like it that way.

Sad, sad that Father Barron is now head of Mundelein Seminary, but not surprising given the history of that institution and the history of the Catholic Church in Chicago. Need we mention Alinsky, Obama and their connections to the Chicago Church? Mundelein was the source of the priests that started the whole "community organizing" work within the Catholic Church. Mundelein was also one of the sources of the sort of theology that became known as the "spirit" of Vatican II. (Maybe I can go into detail on another day. Just take my word for it. I have the facts to back this up.)

Well it seems like a good time for a quote from Pope Pius X:
The number of the enemies of the cross of Christ has in these last days increased exceedingly, who are striving, by arts, entirely new and full of subtlety, to destroy the vital energy of the Church, and, if they can, to overthrow utterly Christ's kingdom itself.
The partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church's open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, nay, and this is far more lamentable, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, feigning a love for the Church, lacking the firm protection of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, vaunt themselves as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious daring, they reduce to a simple, mere man.
Yes, that's not a "spirit" of Vatican II style of writing, but the Church didn't just come into being in the 1960s. It's been around a lot longer than that. Something like 2000 years. A long time.

When the children at Fatima saw a vision of Hell that Our Lady showed to them, their lives were immediately changed. This is all the proof that I need of the existence of Hell.
Jacinta would often sit on the ground or on a rock, and she would say, growing pensive: “Oh, hell, hell! How sorry I am for the souls that go to hell! And the people who are there, being burned alive, like wood in a fire!” And she would kneel down, half trembling, with her hands joined, to recite the prayer Our Lady had taught us: “O my Jesus, forgive us, deliver us from the fire of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need”… And Jacinta would remain kneeling for a long time, repeating the same prayer.
I still hold out some hope that after we die and we go before Christ for judgement that we will have a last chance to choose salvation, but how can those who have spent their whole lives avoiding the light of Christ recognize that light in the moments after their death and move towards it. They will more likely be attracted to another "light", just as they have been in their earthly life. And they will follow that reddish glow downwards into the realm of Lucifer "the light bearer". At first it will seem appealing and warm -- like a cruise to the Caribbean. But then the temperature will suddenly go up and they will find themselves in a sea of flames. This is what the children at Fatima saw -- souls burning in Hell.

I have a personal belief that the Catholic Mass prepares us for our encounter with Christ. That it is like a dress rehearsal for that day of judgement, so that when we come before God we will already have some idea what to expect. We will fall on our knees and ask forgiveness. We will hunger for the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist. We will recognize the music of the choirs of angels and this will guide us towards Christ the Son of God. We will see a woman with a crown of stars and recognize her as Mary praying for our souls at that moment of death. Just as she prayed at the foot of the Cross at the moment of Christ's death.

I can only pray that the children that are going through CCD classes in preparation for their First Communion will be told about Hell. And I hope it scares the hell out of them. It is a scary thought to burn for all eternity.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What is faith?

"If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light."
 -- Luke 11:36
I was thinking about faith in this "year of faith" declared by Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy Father tells us that the Church does not ask for blind faith. He explains that faith and reason are not only compatible but complementary. Faith gives deeper meaning to reason.

So what is faith? I came up with a personal definition that I would like to share:
Faith is an act of the will that opens our mind and heart to God.
It is "an act of the will" because we must choose faith. It is not a matter of being brainwashed somehow. That is not faith. God gives us the free will to love him or not. Faith is an act of love. It is that first glimpse of the face of God that touches the deepest core of our being. But more than that it is believing that the One that is the source of this mysterious love is real. Even if we can't touch Him or speak to Him directly. Still we can feel His presence. And we can allow Him to work within us.

When we "open our mind and heart to God", He begins to transform us from within. We begin to find peace within that does not depend on our physical surroundings. It does not come from our possessions or from our friends and family. It does not depend on our state of health or whether we feel pain or sorrow. It is a transcendent peace that brings us closer to God in an intimate embrace of love.

We are born again as we go back to our creator and re-enter the bosom of God, and we become totally dependent on God to guide our every thought and action. We come completely under the care of God the Father, creator of the universe and all that is in it.

God is a mystery, but He is also a reality that is woven into the fabric of our lives. To deny God is to turn our eyes away from the Truth.

Faith is opening our eyes and looking towards God and allowing His light to penetrate us, to illuminate us and ultimately for His light to come pouring forth from us and turn us into a lamp of God for all the world to see.
"And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light."
 -- Revelation 22:5
 + + +

Here is an excerpt from an address given by Pope Benedict on November 11, 2012 on the topic of faith and reason.
Today I want to focus on the reasonableness of faith in God. The Catholic tradition has from the beginning rejected fideism, which is the will to believe against reason. Credo quia absurdum (I believe because it is absurd) is not a formula that interprets the Catholic faith. God, in fact, is not absurd; if anything, He is mystery. Mystery, in turn, is not irrational, but the overabundance of sense, of meaning, of truth. If, when looking at the Mystery, one's reason sees darkness, it is not because there is no light in the mystery, but rather because there is too much of it. Just as when a man turns his eyes to look directly at the sun, he sees only darkness; but who would say that the sun is not bright? On the contrary, it is the source of light. Faith allows us to look upon the "sun" that is God, because it is a welcoming of his revelation in history and, so to speak, truly receives all the brightness of the mystery of God, recognizing the great miracle: God has approached man and has offered himself to be known by man, deigning to stoop the creaturely limits of his reason (cf. Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, 13). At the same time, God, with his grace, enlightens reason, opens new horizons for it, immeasurable and infinite. For this reason, faith is a strong incentive to seek always, to never stop and never grow quiet in the inexhaustible discovery of the truth and of reality. The prejudice of some modern thinkers is false, according to which human reason would be as if blocked by the dogmas of faith. The exact opposite is true, as the great masters of the Catholic tradition have shown. St. Augustine, before his conversion, sought the truth restlessly in all the available philosophies, finding them all unsatisfactory. His painstaking rational search was for him a significant pedagogy for the encounter with the Truth of Christ. When he says, "believe, in order to understand, and understand, the better to believe" (Sermons, 43, 9: PL 38, 258), it is as if he were recounting his own life experience. Intellect and faith are not strangers or antagonists before divine Revelation; rather, both are conditions for understanding its meaning, to receive its authentic message, approaching the threshold of the mystery. St. Augustine, along with many other Christian authors, witnesses to a faith exercised through the use of reason; he thinks and invites us to think. Following in his wake, St. Anselm will say in his Proslogion that the Catholic faith is fides quaerensintellectum, where the search for understanding is an act within belief itself. It will be especially St. Thomas Aquinas - thanks to this tradition - who will confront the reason of the philosophers, showing how much new fruitful vitality comes to rational human thought from the ingrafting of the principles and truths of the Christian faith.

The Catholic faith is therefore reasonable and also nourishes confidence in human reason. The First Vatican Council, in its Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, affirmed that reason is able to know God’s existence with certainty through the way of creation, while there belongs to faith alone the possibility of knowing "easily, with absolute certainty and without error "(DS 3005) the truths concerning God, in the light of grace. The knowledge of the faith, furthermore, is not opposed to right reason. Blessed Pope John Paul II, in fact, in the Encyclical Fides et ratio, summed it up thus: "human reason is neither annulled nor debased in assenting to the contents of faith, which are in any case attained by way of free and informed choice"(no. 43). In the irresistible desire for truth, only a harmonious relationship between faith and reason is the right path that leads to God and the fulfillment of self.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Song of songs

You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride,
you have ravished my heart with a glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace.
How sweet is your love, my sister, my bride!
how much better is your love than wine.

 -- Song of Songs 4:9-10
For the great lovers of God -- the saints -- these words speak of the love of Christ for His Church.

The saints -- with their eyes always looking towards Heaven -- have a very different view of the world than ours. We, in contrast, seem to always be looking down. We fail to see God in His marvelous  creation -- we see only lifeless matter. Our eyes look back at ourselves in a selfish and egotistical gaze.

Our pride at our great accomplishments makes us blind to the true author of all truth and knowledge.

Nowhere do we see this more clearly than in the attitude of our culture towards human love. When God which is love and the source of all love is cast aside, what is left of human love but a selfish physical act of pleasure which evokes a hormonal reaction? Love has no meaning when it is separated from God.

This has been the mission of the champions of secular humanist philosophy -- to separate God from love and in this way to deny the existence of God. It would seem like a hard idea to sell, but the secularists came prepared with a killer marketing scheme.

They offered in exchange for the love of God the oldest temptation in the world -- sex. Sex that is free from guilt and free from consequences. Somehow it never really works out that way in reality, but that doesn't stop the secular marketing machine from making that same sales pitch over and over again in different ways -- there's contraception, there's abortion, there's safe sex, there's gay sex, there's pornography, there's sex before marriage, there's extra-marital sex, there's divorce, there's re-marriage, there's another divorce, there's single mothers, there's sex in the movies, sex on the TV, sex on the radio, sex on the internet. And where is God?

Psychology teaches us to see sex in everything, while the saints teach us to see God in everything.

If you believe the secular humanists then with all this access to unrestrained sex people should be happier than ever -- but instead we see more unhappiness, despair and violence than ever. Is it that we need more sex? Do we need to "lower our inhibitions" even further?

The secular humanists want to make contraception free -- a right -- and soon after they will want to make abortion free as well. "Free" in this case means you pay for it with your taxes of course.

Will the pendulum reach its maximum and begin to swing back or are we watching a runaway train that won't stop until it accelerates to such speeds that it jumps the track?

With God out of the picture the stage is set for some sort of socialist dictatorship. With the kind of reproductive technology that is now available, this would lead to a type of eugenics that the Nazis could only dream of.

Our only hope is God. Our only weapon is prayer.

The good news is that Christ has conquered death and that we have a Pope -- Benedict XVI -- that is well aware of the challenges that the Church faces.

Pray for us O Holy Mary, mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Who is this that looks forth like the dawn,
fair as the moon, bright as the sun,
terrible as an army with banners?

-- Song of Songs 6:10

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thy Kingdom come

He answered them, "When it is evening, you say, `It will be fair weather; for the sky is red.' And in the morning, `It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times."
 -- Matthew 16:2-3
Michael Voris has another thought provoking Daily Vortex show today. Please watch it before reading my comments.

Underlying what Michael V. is talking about is the idea of democracy beginning with the French Revolution and including our own American Revolution.

The principal "culture war" of that time was between monarchy and democracy. Or was it?

More and more I have come to the conclusion that this was the beginning of the present culture war between the secular state and the Church.

The european monarchies and the Church were intertwined. And so the attack on the monarchies was also an attack on the Church. The "religious freedom" of the American Constitution is a statement that no one religion should have a preeminent place in society which is protected and enforced by the state. But this is what the monarchies did for the Catholic Church.

The first strike against the ties between the Catholic Church and the state was the Protestant Revolution (a better word than "reformation" in my opinion). This led to rival monarchies in Europe, some of which supported the Protestants and some of which continued to support the Catholic Church. This was a major blow to the Catholic faith.

But the heaviest blow has been dealt by democracy and the accompanying false notion of religious freedom.

The model for monarchies is expressed in the Our Father, "Thy kingdom come ... on earth as it is in heaven." Christ is a king not an elected president. But no earthly king can pretend to stand in for Christ except in the case of the Pope which is not a "king" in the sense of a secular leader of a state, but a "pontiff" -- a bridge between the Church militant and the heavenly King.

As we have learned tyranny can take on many forms including the form of democracy. It is only when a nation follows the teachings of Christ that true freedom is found. It does not matter whether the government power is held by elected officials or appointed ones. What matters is whether they govern according to the will of God or according to the will of man.

We are headed towards a new form of dictatorship of secularism. This is a repeat of the original "Kulturkampf" or culture war led by Bismarck against the Catholic Church at the end of the 19th century. This was defeated by the Catholic Church under the direction of Pope Leo XIII.

Hitler later modeled his own culture war after that of Bismarck's -- embracing the same materialist and atheistic philosophies as Bismarck had. We see this happening again in the United States today. The same philosophies are at work which deny God and deny that man is made in the image of God. And so the inherent dignity of all human life is denied.

Abortion is the spiritual sign of our times. A nation that accepts abortion has lost all concept of God the creator and His only son Jesus Christ.

May God have mercy on us.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pray for our country

"Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?"
 -- Job 2:20
The civil rights movement which begun with Reverend Martin Luther King championing the rights of African Americans has been a failure. It failed because it did not convert others to Christ. We see in a tragic and monumental way the fallacy of protest and why the saints have not followed that path.

The early fruits of the civil rights movement seemed to be good. It made great progress in racial equality, but what has become of that? Too many African Americans are still trapped in poverty and the the faith in God which once sustained their communities has been severely eroded. Their fate has also been the fate of our nation as a whole.

As a result of this loss of faith families have been torn apart, drug addiction has become an epidemic, and the sins of the flesh have ensnared us.

The mature fruits of the protest movements of the 1960s which were spawned by the civil rights movement are abortion, fatherless children, divorce. The Church itself is forced to defend its teachings on marriage and the priesthood.

How has it come to pass that the first black President of the United States is also the most pro-abortion one? Especially when abortion is targeted at black and hispanic communities?

Eugenics has made a comeback disguised as women's rights and environmentalism. But the disguise is wearing thin.

We pray that the African American community will lead us in a new direction by restoring that faith in God. But this is not an easy path and requires great sacrifice, and the evil one will put up many obstacles which will be difficult to overcome. It will require the virtues of patience and perseverance and faith in the power of the Holy Spirit to triumph.

The Israelites lost their faith as they crossed the desert on their way to the Promised Land. They rebelled, but eventually they came back to God. We saw how God punished them before giving them their final reward. We must be willing to accept God's punishment and trust in His Mercy.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Death with dignity

I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.
 -- John 6:48-50
Watching these nuns approaching their final moment of life while singing a hymn in Latin brought me to tears.

We should not understand their act as an act of protest -- it is a public act of faith. As Catholics we do not protest. We pray, we speak out in defense of our faith, but we have no need to protest because we know what we believe in.

We accept our fate. We trust in God and His plan for humanity.

Protest is an act of rebellion by those who do not accept the authority of God and His Church. This can never be in accord with the virtues of humility and obedience.

We have Christ as our example and the martyrs throughout history and in every part of the world. It is the highest honor that a Christian can have to follow the path of the Cross.

We will have our opportunity to face death. May God give us the strength and the faith to face it with dignity.

Thank you Michael Voris for sharing this with us.

On this election night as we wait for the final results to be revealed, let us pray for our great country. Let us put ourselves in God's hands and ask Him to show us how to be better Christians so that through our example we can bring others to Christ.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Killing the sick is not merciful

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

 -- Luke 23:43
"Euthanasia" or "physician assisted suicide" is not merciful. True mercy only comes from God in the forgiveness of our sins.

The good news of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the triumph over death. The Christian faith explains the true meaning of death and in so doing gives new meaning to our lives. Christ gives us hope even in our pain and suffering.

We have become numb to the message of Christ, but if we could only listen to it as if it were the first time -- the way that the Greeks heard it from St. Paul shortly after the resurrection -- then we would understand just how powerful that message is. It was like a holy fire that swept through the Roman empire destroying all false belief systems in its path.

Perhaps the most powerful part of that message are Christ's teachings on life after death. Christ promises us that we can attain the Kingdom of Heaven through our love of God and through our love of neighbor -- and not through burnt offerings and sacrifices.

There is no earthly path to Heaven. It is only through Christ's sacrifice on the Cross for us that the door is opened.

As Christians we need not fear death nor illness and suffering. Our faith in God strengthens us and carries us. We trust in the mercy of God and in Christ's promise of eternal life for all those who believe in Him.

One of the thieves who was crucified alongside Christ mocked Him just as our secular society mocks Christianity today, while the other thief asked for forgiveness and was granted a place in the Kingdom of Heaven. They were both facing death but one of them recognized Jesus as the Son of God and found new hope.

Pray for the sick and dying that they may find God in the midst of their sufferings.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The false "spirit" of Vatican II

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.
 -- Matthew 7:15-16
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Vatican II. In 2005 the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI shared his thoughts on the "spirit" of Vatican II. He describes this as a force that attempted to create a rupture in the Church. He uses the expression "hermeneutic of discontinuity". Hermeneutic means "interpretation". So it is an interpretation of Vatican II which says that the pre-Vatican II Church was wrong. All those "medieval" saints like St. Francis and St. Aquinas were wrong. They even question the teachings of Christ. Somehow the Church got it wrong for nearly 2000 years and only now in the godless 21st century have we figured out the "truth".

Here is a short quote from Pope Benedict in which he thoroughly exposes those who like to refer to the "spirit" of Vatican II.
The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church. It asserts that the texts of the Council as such do not yet express the true spirit of the Council. It claims that they are the result of compromises in which, to reach unanimity, it was found necessary to keep and reconfirm many old things that are now pointless. However, the true spirit of the Council is not to be found in these compromises but instead in the impulses toward the new that are contained in the texts.

These innovations alone were supposed to represent the true spirit of the Council, and starting from and in conformity with them, it would be possible to move ahead. Precisely because the texts would only imperfectly reflect the true spirit of the Council and its newness, it would be necessary to go courageously beyond the texts and make room for the newness in which the Council's deepest intention would be expressed, even if it were still vague.

In a word:  it would be necessary not to follow the texts of the Council but its spirit. In this way, obviously, a vast margin was left open for the question on how this spirit should subsequently be defined and room was consequently made for every whim.
And so in the "spirit" of Vatican II we have priests and bishops who see nothing wrong with "gay marriage" and "women priests". Others disavow the Church's teachings on contraception and abortion.

We have been blessed with a Pope who understands very well the modus operandi of the dissenters within the Church. Please pray for Our Holy Father.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already. Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them; for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

They are of the world, therefore what they say is of the world, and the world listens to them. We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

 -- 1 John 4:1-6
 + + +

Here is a longer quote from the address of Pope Benedict XVI on December 22, 2005 regarding Vatican II.
The last event of this year on which I wish to reflect here is the celebration of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council 40 years ago. This memory prompts the question: What has been the result of the Council? Was it well received? What, in the acceptance of the Council, was good and what was inadequate or mistaken? What still remains to be done? No one can deny that in vast areas of the Church the implementation of the Council has been somewhat difficult, even without wishing to apply to what occurred in these years the description that St Basil, the great Doctor of the Church, made of the Church's situation after the Council of Nicea:  he compares her situation to a naval battle in the darkness of the storm, saying among other things:  "The raucous shouting of those who through disagreement rise up against one another, the incomprehensible chatter, the confused din of uninterrupted clamouring, has now filled almost the whole of the Church, falsifying through excess or failure the right doctrine of the faith..." (De Spiritu Sancto, XXX, 77; PG 32, 213 A; SCh 17 ff., p. 524).

We do not want to apply precisely this dramatic description to the situation of the post-conciliar period, yet something from all that occurred is nevertheless reflected in it. The question arises:  Why has the implementation of the Council, in large parts of the Church, thus far been so difficult?

Well, it all depends on the correct interpretation of the Council or - as we would say today - on its proper hermeneutics, the correct key to its interpretation and application. The problems in its implementation arose from the fact that two contrary hermeneutics came face to face and quarrelled with each other. One caused confusion, the other, silently but more and more visibly, bore and is bearing fruit.

On the one hand, there is an interpretation that I would call "a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture"; it has frequently availed itself of the sympathies of the mass media, and also one trend of modern theology. On the other, there is the "hermeneutic of reform", of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God.

The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church. It asserts that the texts of the Council as such do not yet express the true spirit of the Council. It claims that they are the result of compromises in which, to reach unanimity, it was found necessary to keep and reconfirm many old things that are now pointless. However, the true spirit of the Council is not to be found in these compromises but instead in the impulses toward the new that are contained in the texts.

These innovations alone were supposed to represent the true spirit of the Council, and starting from and in conformity with them, it would be possible to move ahead. Precisely because the texts would only imperfectly reflect the true spirit of the Council and its newness, it would be necessary to go courageously beyond the texts and make room for the newness in which the Council's deepest intention would be expressed, even if it were still vague.

In a word:  it would be necessary not to follow the texts of the Council but its spirit. In this way, obviously, a vast margin was left open for the question on how this spirit should subsequently be defined and room was consequently made for every whim.

The nature of a Council as such is therefore basically misunderstood. In this way, it is considered as a sort of constituent that eliminates an old constitution and creates a new one. However, the Constituent Assembly needs a mandator and then confirmation by the mandator, in other words, the people the constitution must serve. The Fathers had no such mandate and no one had ever given them one; nor could anyone have given them one because the essential constitution of the Church comes from the Lord and was given to us so that we might attain eternal life and, starting from this perspective, be able to illuminate life in time and time itself.

Through the Sacrament they have received, Bishops are stewards of the Lord's gift. They are "stewards of the mysteries of God" (I Cor 4: 1); as such, they must be found to be "faithful" and "wise" (cf. Lk 12: 41-48). This requires them to administer the Lord's gift in the right way, so that it is not left concealed in some hiding place but bears fruit, and the Lord may end by saying to the administrator:  "Since you were dependable in a small matter I will put you in charge of larger affairs" (cf. Mt 25: 14-30; Lk 19: 11-27).

These Gospel parables express the dynamic of fidelity required in the Lord's service; and through them it becomes clear that, as in a Council, the dynamic and fidelity must converge.

The hermeneutic of discontinuity is countered by the hermeneutic of reform, as it was presented first by Pope John XXIII in his Speech inaugurating the Council on 11 October 1962 and later by Pope Paul VI in his Discourse for the Council's conclusion on 7 December 1965.

Here I shall cite only John XXIII's well-known words, which unequivocally express this hermeneutic when he says that the Council wishes "to transmit the doctrine, pure and integral, without any attenuation or distortion". And he continues:  "Our duty is not only to guard this precious treasure, as if we were concerned only with antiquity, but to dedicate ourselves with an earnest will and without fear to that work which our era demands of us...". It is necessary that "adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness..." be presented in "faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine, which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another...", retaining the same meaning and message (The Documents of Vatican II, Walter M. Abbott, S.J., p. 715).

It is clear that this commitment to expressing a specific truth in a new way demands new thinking on this truth and a new and vital relationship with it; it is also clear that new words can only develop if they come from an informed understanding of the truth expressed, and on the other hand, that a reflection on faith also requires that this faith be lived. In this regard, the programme that Pope John XXIII proposed was extremely demanding, indeed, just as the synthesis of fidelity and dynamic is demanding.

However, wherever this interpretation guided the implementation of the Council, new life developed and new fruit ripened. Forty years after the Council, we can show that the positive is far greater and livelier than it appeared to be in the turbulent years around 1968. Today, we see that although the good seed developed slowly, it is nonetheless growing; and our deep gratitude for the work done by the Council is likewise growing.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Suffering as a force against evil

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return; the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."
 -- Job 1:21
Pope Benedict XVI in his reflections on the life and death of his predecessor Pope John Paul II says:
"[We must] do the utmost to ensure that people can discover the meaning of suffering and are thus able to accept their own suffering and to unite it with the suffering of Christ. In this way, it is merged with redemptive love and consequently becomes a force against the evil in the world."
We need to understand this if we are to approach death with true dignity. Pope John Paul II gave us a great personal example of this.

The "choice" to commit suicide rather than to allow God to determine the time and manner of our death is another false choice like abortion and like divorce. It does not give us new freedom but rather enslaves us. Once these options become legally available the forces of society convert them from "choices" to inevitable outcomes.

Unborn but not forgotten

After this I had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.

They cried out in a loud voice:
"Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne,
and from the Lamb."

He said to me,
"These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;
they have washed their robes
and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb."

 -- Revelation 7:9-10,14
Today as I was worshipping at Mass in celebration of All Saints Day all I could think about was the unborn and especially those millions that had their lives taken from them before they could ever take their first breaths or speak their first words or take their first steps. They are with the angels now.

When I heard the first reading from Revelation about "the great multitude wearing white robes" for some reason my mind immediately thought of them. Later in the reading they are described as "the ones who have survived the time of great distress" and I thought how appropriate this was. Their robes have been washed in the Blood of the Lamb. They are the martyrs without names and without faces. We never had the chance to meet them or talk to them or to get to know them and to love them.

In the following video some of these unborn children that were most at risk but that through the grace of God were given life speak out. These are the children that were conceived in rape.

The second reading of the Mass drew me further into contemplation.
Beloved, we are God's children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.

 -- 1 John 3:2
It's true, we are all God's children. We all share a common Father. And we are all "unborn" because we are not truly "born" until we pass from this life to the next. That is why we celebrate a saint's feast day on the day of their death -- the day on which they enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Peace be with you.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

MIchael Voris is right!

Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'

Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?' Then he will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

-- Matthew 25:41-46
Michael Voris is right about the need to teach about the reality of Hell. And he's right that very few of us will wind up in Heaven. Anyone who is Christian cannot deny this reality as Michael points out.

The children at Fatima were so frightened by the vision of Hell that Our Lady revealed to them that they spent much of their time afterward praying for the conversion of sinners.

St. Teresa of Jesus actually experienced the pain of a soul trapped in Hell and describes it in her writings.
I felt a fire in my soul. I cannot see how it is possible to describe it. My bodily sufferings were unendurable.... These sufferings were nothing in comparison with the anguish of my soul, a sense of oppression, of stifling, and of pain so keen, accompanied by so hopeless and cruel an infliction, that I know not how to speak of it. If I said that the soul is continually being torn from the body, it would be nothing, for that implies the destruction of life by the hands of another but here it is the soul itself that is tearing itself in pieces. I cannot describe that inward fire or that despair, surpassing all torments and all pain. I did not see who it was that tormented me, but I felt myself on fire, and torn to pieces... Left in that pestilential place, and utterly without the power to hope for comfort, I could neither sit nor lie down: there was no room. I was placed as it were in a hole in the wall; and those walls, terrible to look on of themselves, hemmed me in on every side. I could not breathe. There was no light, but all was thick darkness.
Sadly, I feel I must add that some of the conditions that St. Teresa describe remind me of descriptions I have read of the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo. It is one thing to imprison someone for crimes committed as a punishment and in order to protect society. But it is another thing to totally deprive a person of all human dignity. As a Church that believes in the dignity of all human beings I think we must speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Whenever we see a group of people stripped of their humanity, what follows is that their lives lose all value and they become disposable. We see this with the unborn and abortion. We are seeing this with the elderly and the sick with laws that would compel them to take their own lives so that they would not be a burden to society. And we see this in times of war when the enemy is always portrayed as less than human.

But even in times of war we must remember that each human being is a unique creation of God. We should never stop praying for our enemies. And as a nation we need to ask God in our prayers to keep our souls from being corrupted through the abuse of the power which He has granted us.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A graceless life

But you, my dearly beloved, be mindful of the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who told you, that in the last time there should come mockers, walking according to their own desires in ungodlinesses. These are they, who separate themselves, sensual men, having not the Spirit. But you, my beloved, building yourselves upon your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto life everlasting.
 -- Jude 1:17-21
Without Thy grace.  We elected to live gracelessly, we trusted solely to our strength, were bound only by our own laws, surrendered to our own whims and followed our own instincts. On those foundations we built our new towers. We have lifted our voices and celebrated triumphs, we have marched, we have worked, we have boasted and saved and squandered.  And the outcome?  Precisely without thy grace – a graceless life a pitiless age, an age of inexorable fate, a time of horror and violence, of worthless life and senseless death.  We ought not to be surprised that such a graceless life has translated itself into the kind of manifestation we are now enduring.  And we who have been dragged down into the universal collapse – which perhaps we did not try to prevent by every means in our power – must in the midst of our destiny overcome that destiny, turning it into a cry for grace and mercy, for the healing waters of the Holy Spirit.  Humanity ought never again to over-rate its capabilities or delude itself as we have done.  Those who survive should take these lessons to heart and preach them with inspired zeal.  The graceless way of living is presumptuous and leads to disaster.  We are truly human when we live in unity with God.

Father Alfred Delp, S.J.

Father Delp (1945) was a German Jesuit priest condemned to death by the Nazis in Berlin, Germany.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pope Benedict on Faith

So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
 -- 1 Corinthians 13:13
Pope Benedict XVI wrote his two first encyclicals on Love and Hope. It was predicted that his next encyclical would be on Faith, but I fear the the Holy Father has been too busy to focus his attention on this task.

But instead he has given us a whole year devoted to Faith. And he is blessing us with a whole series of Wednesday addresses on the topic of Faith.

I include below the full text of the talk he gave yesterday, both because I love the writings of Pope Benedict and always find them enriching and inspiring, and because it fits in so neatly with my comments at the end of my previous post. (The interesting thing is that I wrote that post prior to reading this papal address.)

 + + +

Dear brothers and sisters,
Last Wednesday, with the inauguration of the Year of Faith, I began a new series of catecheses on faith. And today I would like to reflect with you on the basic question: What is faith? Does faith still make sense in a world where science and technology have opened horizons heretofore unimagined? What does it mean to believe today? Indeed, in our own day a renewed education in the faith is greatly needed. This should naturally include a knowledge of the truths of the faith and the events of salvation, but above all it should come from a true encounter with God in Jesus Christ, from loving Him, from trusting Him, so that it involves the whole of our lives.
Today, along with so many signs of goodness, a kind of spiritual desert is also widening around us. Sometimes we get the feeling from certain events we hear about each day that the world is not moving towards the building up of a more fraternal and peaceful community. The very ideas of progress and wellbeing also reveal their shadows. Despite the grandeur of scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs, men today do not seem to have become freer and more humane; so many forms of exploitation, manipulation, violence, oppression and injustice still remain.
In addition, a certain kind of culture has taught men to move only along the horizons of things, of the practical, and to believe only in what can be seen and touched with one’s hands. On the other hand, however, there are an increasing number of people who feel lost and who - in the quest to move beyond a merely horizontal vision of reality - are ready to believe everything as well as its opposite. Within this context several fundamental questions emerge, which are far more concrete than they appear at first sight: What is the meaning of life? Is there a future for man, for us and for the new generations? How shall we direct the choices we freely make toward a successful and happy life? What awaits us beyond the threshold of death?
These insuppressible questions show that the world of planning, exact calculation and experimentation - in a word, of scientific knowledge - important as they are for the life of man, of themselves are not enough. We don’t only need bread; we need love, meaning and hope. We need a firm foundation and solid ground that helps us to live with real meaning, even in times of crisis, darkness and difficulty, and amid our daily problems. This is precisely what faith gives us: it is a confident entrusting of oneself to a “Thou” who is God; it provides a kind of certainty different from but no less sure than what comes to us from exact calculation or science. 
Faith is not simply a matter of man’s intellectual assent to truths about God; it is an act whereby I freely entrust myself to a God who is a Father and who loves me; it means clinging to a “Thou” who gives me hope and confidence. To be sure, this adherence to God is not devoid of content: it enables us to know that God himself revealed himself to us in Christ. He showed us his face and he truly drew near to each one of us. Indeed, God revealed that his love for man, for each one of us, is without measure: on the Cross, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God made man, shows us in the clearest fashion how far this love goes -- to the point of giving himself, to total sacrifice. By the mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Christ, God descends into the depths of our humanity in order to bring it back to himself, to raise it to his heights.
Faith means believing in God’s unfailing love, which endures even in the face of man’s iniquity, of evil and of death, and which is able to transform every form of slavery by granting the possibility of salvation. To have faith, then, is to encounter this “Thou” - God - who sustains me and offers me the promise of an imperishable love that not only aspires to eternity but also gives it. It means entrusting myself to God with the attitude of a child who knows very well that all of his difficulties and problems are safe in the “thou” of the mother.
And this possibility of salvation through faith is a gift that God offers to all people. I think we should meditate more often on this in our daily lives, which are sometimes characterized by tragic problems and situations. We need to reflect on the fact that Christian belief involves this trusting self-surrender to the profound meaning that upholds me and the world: that meaning we are incapable of giving ourselves but can only receive as a gift, and that provides the foundation on which we can live without fear. And we must be able to proclaim this freeing and reassuring certainty with our words and to demonstrate it by our Christian lives.
Each day, however, we see around us that many people remain indifferent or refuse to welcome this announcement. At the end of the Gospel of Mark we today have before us hard words from the Risen One, who tells us: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16), he will be lost. I would like to invite you to reflect on this. Confidence in the action of the Holy Spirit must always move us to go out and preach the Gospel, to courageously witness to the faith. But in addition to the possibility of a positive response to the gift of faith, there is also the risk of the Gospel being rejected, of a vital encounter with Christ not being received. St. Augustine posed this problem in one of his commentaries on the parable of the sower: “ We speak – he said – we cast the seed, we scatter the seed. There are those who despise, those who criticize and those who scoff. If we fear them, we shall have nothing more to sow, and the day of harvest will remain without a crop. Therefore, may the seed come forth from good soil (Discourse on Christian discipline, 13,14: PL 40, 677-678).
Rejection, then, cannot discourage us. As Christians we are witnesses of this fertile soil: despite our limitations, our faith shows that good soil exists, where the seed of God’s Word produces abundant fruits of justice, peace, love, of new humanity and of salvation. And the whole history of the Church, with all its problems, also demonstrates that good soil exists, good seed exists, and it bears fruit.
But we ask ourselves: where does man obtainthat openness of heart and mind that enables him to believe in God who became visible in Jesus Christ crucified and risen, and to receive his salvation so that Christ and his Gospel become the guide and light of life? The answer: we are able to believe in God because he draws near to us and touches us, because the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Risen One, enables us to receive and welcome the living God. Faith, then, is first and foremost a supernatural gift, a gift of God. The Second Vatican Council states: “To make this act of faith, the grace of God and the interior help of the Holy Spirit must precede and assist, moving the heart and turning it to God, opening the eyes of the mind and giving ‘joy and ease to everyone in assenting to the truth and believing it’ (Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, 5).
The basis of our journey of faith is Baptism, the sacrament that gives us the Holy Spirit – making us children of God in Christ - and marks our entrance into the community of faith, the Church: we don’t believe on our own, without the preceding grace of the Spirit; and we don’t believe alone but together with our brothers and sisters. From Baptism on, every believer is called to re-live and make this confession of faith his own, together with his brothers and sisters.
Faith is a gift of God, but it is also a profoundly free and human act. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states it clearly. It says: “Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true that believing is an authentically human act. [It] is contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason” (n. 154). In fact, it involves them and exalts them in a gamble on life that is like an exodus; i.e., a going out of themselves, a departure from the security they afford and from their mental constructs in order to entrust themselves to the action of God, who shows us the way to attain true freedom, our human identity, true joy of heart and peace with everyone. To believe is to entrust oneself in all freedom and with joy to God’s providential plan for history, like the patriarch Abram, like Mary of Nazareth. Faith, then, is an assent whereby our minds and hearts pronounce their “yes” to God by confessing that Jesus is the Lord. And this “yes” transforms life and opens the way towards the fullness of meaning, making it so new, so rich in joy and reliable hope.
Dear friends, the times in which we live need Christians who have been seized by Christ, who grow in faith through familiarity with the Sacred Scriptures and the Sacraments – persons who are like an open book that tells of the experience of new life in the Spirit and the presence of God who sustains us on the journey and opens the way to endless life. Thank you.

Michael Voris is wrong

He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth belongs to the earth, and of the earth he speaks; he who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony; he who receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for it is not by measure that he gives the Spirit; the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.
 -- John 3:31-36
Michael Voris is wrong.

There. I said it. Even though I can agree with Michael V. at least 90% of the time, I disagree with him in some very critical areas.

I wish that Michael V. would stop and listen very carefully to what Archbishop Chaput has to say in this video.

The problem I see with Michael V. is that he sometimes lets his political views take precedence over his "Catholic identity". Compare what Archbishop Chaput has to say with what Michael V. says in his latest Daily Vortex.

While I absolutely agree with Michael V. and his analysis of the "social justice" movement within the Church sometimes he swings too far to the right and steps outside the teaching of the Church. I'm thinking very specifically of the issue of "illegal immigration".

We Catholics may belong to an "illegal church" pretty soon if things continue on along the same path that we are heading now. "Illegal" doesn't always equate with what is morally wrong. Just as "legal" doesn't always equate with what is morally right. We have "legal abortion", but how can we say that the killing of innocent unborn children should be protected by law simply as a matter of "choice".

Archbishop Chaput says in a related article:
Scripture and Catholic teaching, however, do have public consequences because they guide us in how we should act in relation to one another. Again, Catholic social action, including political action, is a natural byproduct of the Church’s moral message. We can’t call ourselves Catholic, and then simply stand by while immigrants get mistreated, or the poor get robbed, or – even more fundamentally — unborn children get killed. If our faith is real, then it will bear fruit in our public decisions and behaviors, including our political choices.
The Church's teachings must guide us. We may not always live up to the high standards of the Church which are based on the even higher standards of God. We must always remember to pray the Our Father and ask for God's forgiveness.

Please join me in praying for Michael Voris. He is a great warrior in the spiritual war which is currently raging in our society. Don't let him be so easily knocked off his steed. We need him fighting along side us and even leading the charge.

 + + +

I will close with a thought. It is something that I have become increasingly aware of in recent days. And both Michael V. and Archbishop Chaput touch upon this in some way.

We can either choose to turn our eyes upward to Heaven or downward to this physical world in which we spend our lives. When we gaze upward we begin to see the world through the eyes of Christ. This is how the saints live their lives, with their eyes focused on the Cross of Jesus.

When we shift our eyes downward we see only the physical world that surrounds us. We conclude that we are only animals instead of being children of God created in His own image. We even go as far as to interpret everything as having sexual symbolism as Freud did, instead of seeing everything in the world as part of God's creation and marveling at the miracle of life and humanity.

Through science we seek to reduce everything to cold numbers and equations. Science does this through measuring the world around us and "quantifying" everything. In this view we are only atoms and molecules, or 1s and 0s in a computer program.

Ultimately science would like to be able to measure God Himself. But God is immeasurable. From this, many conclude that God does not exist because He cannot be measured by any scientific instrument. He cannot be perceived directly or indirectly through our senses. And yet He can be experienced if only we are open to His will. The saints are our witnesses to this great Truth.

So "modern" man places himself in opposition to God. Choosing to look down rather than up. Ultimately this leads to human beings becoming commodities. We seek to satisfy our own selfish needs and desires. Our husbands and wives become objects used for our own pleasure. Gradually the family breaks down and society itself breaks down.

But the good news of the Gospel is that God exists. In fact He is the creator. And when we realize this and accept it then we can begin to live meaningful lives again and to heal our broken society.

And in fact God is Love. And it is this love which is present in the Church which will ultimately win this spiritual war.

We have as our prime human example of the love of God and for God the Blessed Virgin Mary. May we always seek to follow her example. Pray for us, Mother of God.

In the Book of Revelation it is revealed to us that the New Jerusalem has been measured.
Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told: "Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample over the holy city for forty-two months."
 -- Revelation 11:1-2
So even by the scientific criteria of measurement Heaven exists. There is an eternal life after the short life of this world.

When we live this life as if there is an afterlife, then we make our society stronger. When we ignore the afterlife then our society crumbles. It almost doesn't seem to matter whether we have faith or not. At least not in the beginning. But God is merciful and loving and he rewards acts of faith with true faith. We need only persevere by repeating these words from the Holy Mass based on the great profession of faith of a Roman officer:

"Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Norma McCorvey speaks out against abortion

Even the darkness is not dark to thee,
the night is bright as the day;
for darkness is as light with thee.

For thou didst form my inward parts,
thou didst knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful.
Wonderful are thy works!

 -- Psalm 113:12-14

More about Norma McCorvey from Priests for Life.
A turning point came in McCorvey's break from the abortion mentality when she realized the pro-life community could love her while being opposed to her philosophy, said Father Frank Pavone, International Director of Priests for Life, in a telephone interview with the Rio Grande Catholic. "She was beginning to separate the evil (of abortion) from the person, which is something that the pro-abortion mentality does not do," said Father Pavone. "The problems surrounding an unexpected pregnancy cannot be eliminated by eliminating the child, and that is the way the pro-abortion people believe."

The abortion industry's refusal to allow her to give any information to women making the decision to have abortions pushed her closer to the prolife philosophy. "When a woman has an abortion, that woman is signing up for the ball and chain group because she will always be shackled by what she has done until she repents and asks the Lord for forgiveness," said McCorvey.

After her conversion to Christianity and her renouncement of the abortion movement, McCorvey continued her search for the truth. Father Pavone said, "She came to the pro-life position but then she continued following that truth." He said that when people embrace the truth and are faithful and open to it, truth will lead them all the way. "And that is what she did," said Father Pavone. "She (McCorvey) followed the truth to the fullest expression, which is the Catholic Church."

People are given hope when they see McCorvey, who is perceived as the winner of the Roe vs. Wade decision, now renouncing it, according to Father Pavone. But he advises those who are suspicious of her conversion to the pro-life movement to get to know her. "She suffers a lot for what she has done and a person does not endure sacrifice and suffering for something they do not believe in," said Father Pavone.
See also, the LifeSiteNews article about the candidacy of Randall Terry and this political ad featuring Norma.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The persecution of Dr. Angela McGaskill

For when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction; just as it has come to pass.
 -- 1 Thessalonians 3:4

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Salve, Regina

And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end."
 -- Luke 1:30-33

Hail, Holy Queen, mother of mercy;
Our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us.
And after this our exile
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement; O loving; O sweet
Virgin Mary

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

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Salve, Regina, mater misericordiae;
Vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus, exsules, filii Hevae.
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia ergo, Advocata nostra,
illos tuos misericordes oculos
ad nos converte.
Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis, post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens; O pia; O dulcis
Virgo Maria

V. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genitrix. 
R. Ut digni efficamur promissionibus Christi.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I believe...

The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not.

He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.

 -- John 1:9-14

The Nicene Creed

 I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, 
maker of Heaven and earth and of all things 
visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus 
Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten 
of his Father before all ages, God of God, 
Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, 
not made, consubstantial with the 
Father, by Whom all things were made; Who 
for us men and for our salvation, came down 
from Heaven, and was Incarnate by the Holy 
Spirit of the Virgin Mary and was made Man; 
He was crucified also for us under Pontius 
Pilate, and was buried. And the 
third day He rose again according to the 
Scriptures, and ascended into Heaven. He 
sitteth at the right hand of the Father: and He shall 
come again with glory to judge the living 
and the dead: and His kingdom shall have no end. 
And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and 
Giver of life, Who proceedeth from the Father and 
the Son, Who, together with the Father and the Son, 
is adored and glorified: Who spoke by the 
prophets. And I believe in one holy Catholic and 
apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism 
for the remission of sins. And I expect the resurrection 
of the dead, and the life of the world to come. 

In this Year of Faith proclaimed by Our Holy Father Benedict XVI let us all reflect on what we believe.

Father Frank Pavone is back

Men worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?" And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months; it opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.
 -- Revelation 13 4:7
Welcome back Father Frank! We have sorely missed you!

In case you missed it... "After a year of exile, anti-abortion priest Frank Pavone is back"
Pavone appealed [Bishop] Zurek’s restrictions to Rome and in May the Vatican ruled that he was a priest in good standing and that he could travel freely, with Zurek’s permission. The bishop hasn’t told him otherwise, Pavone said, and seems unlikely to do so given Pavone's connections.
I would love to be able to report on Bishop Zurek's side of the story, but "Zurek’s office did not respond to several requests for a comment." It would be nice if the Bishop would clear the air after so publicly condemning Father Frank.

Back in August 1st Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann declared her support for Priests for Life on the floor of Congress. It's great to see the pro-Life family working together like this. God bless you Michelle.

Thank you Father Frank for all you have done and for all you continue to do to fight for the lives of the unborn. Now it's time to get back to work because their is much work to be done in the fields of Our Lord. Your presence has been much missed in the battlefield. The enemy has gained ground. And in this crucial election year we need your voice to be heard. Keep fighting for the Gospel in this spiritually barren desert in which we are living.

Judging from the following quote, Father Frank has only grown more determined after his ordeal.
“Some people have called me too aggressive. Well, too bad. The fight against abortion is too important to worry about ruffling feathers and the reality is that church efforts to combat abortion are too tame – the hierarchy’s deeds don’t match their words. And that sends the wrong message.

“There can be heated debate. There can be loyal opposition. That is how the church grows, The solution is not to lock me up in some convent. The solution is to sit down at the table like adults.”
My prayers and the prayers of many others around the world have been answered.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dolan and Dorothy Day

Jesus answered, "My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world."
-- John 18:36
So Archbishop Timothy Dolan thinks that Dorothy Day should be a saint. I'm sure "Catholics" Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden would agree.

My educated guess is that most Catholics that agree with Abp. Dolan on this will also be voting for Obama.

Dorothy Day was present at Vatican II. She was there to inject her political views into Church documents. She perfectly represents the "social justice" mentality which deliberately chooses to misrepresent the mission of the Church. Yes, we are called to help the poor, but no this is not the primary mission of the Church.

The primary mission is to save souls. Everything that happens in this life is secondary to the eternal life that comes afterwards. We are called to be pilgrims here on earth on a journey towards Heaven.

The bad fish

Another parable he put before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.

So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the householder came and said to him, `Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?'

He said to them, `An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, `Then do you want us to go and gather them?'

But he said, `No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'"

 -- Matthew 13:24-30
"We have seen that in the field of the Lord there are always the weeds as well. We have seen that in the net of Peter there are also the bad fish."

Pope Benedict XVI offered these comments about the post Vatican II period in the life of the Church on October 11 as he recalled his own participation in that council:
We were happy -- I would say -- and full of enthusiasm. The great ecumenical council was inaugurated, we were sure it would be a new springtime of the Church, a new Pentecost, with a strong presence of the new liberating grace of the Gospel.

Today as well we are happy, we carry joy in our hearts, but I would say it is perhaps a more sober joy, a humble joy. In these fifty years, we have learned and understood that original sin exists and is translated ever anew into personal sins that can even become structures of sin. We have seen that in the field of the Lord there are always the weeds as well. We have seen that in the net of Peter there are also the bad fish. We have seen that human frailty is also present in the Church, that the ship of the Church is sailing with the wind against it, with storms that threaten the ship. And at times we have thought: where is the Lord? He has forgotten us! This is a part of the experiences undergone over these fifty years.
The "weeds" and the "bad fish" to which Pope Benedict refers can only be the dissenters within the Church who have chosen to use Vatican II as an excuse to implement "reforms" that go against Church teaching.

Earlier on that same day in his homily Pope Benedict said, "In the years following, however, many embraced uncritically the dominant mentality, placing in doubt the very foundations of the deposit of faith, which they sadly no longer felt able to accept as truths."

I can only assume that the Pope is again referring to the "bad fish" and here he points out in an even more direct way that they have chosen to reject the truths of the Church and have substituted for them their own ideas which they have borrowed from the modern atheistic world.

In this same homily the Pope speaks of this God-less world as a desert, making the comparison with the desert that the ancient Israelites had to cross in order to reach the Promised Land.
Recent decades have seen the advance of a spiritual “desertification”. In the Council’s time it was already possible from a few tragic pages of history to know what a life or a world without God looked like, but now we see it every day around us. This void has spread. But it is in starting from the experience of this desert, from this void, that we can again discover the joy of believing, its vital importance for us, men and women. In the desert we rediscover the value of what is essential for living; thus in today’s world there are innumerable signs, often expressed implicitly or negatively, of the thirst for God, for the ultimate meaning of life. And in the desert people of faith are needed who, with their own lives, point out the way to the Promised Land and keep hope alive. Living faith opens the heart to the grace of God which frees us from pessimism. Today, more than ever, evangelizing means witnessing to the new life, transformed by God, and thus showing the path.
Thank you Holy Father for letting us know that you have not forgotten us and that you hear the prayers of the faithful.

 + + +
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad.

So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth."

 -- Matthew 13:47-50
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See also:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cardinal Burke on Voting

And it came to pass, as he spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to him: Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck. But he said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.
 -- Luke 11:27-28
This interview with Cardinal Raymond Burke appears to be from 2010 but it is more relevant now than ever.

  + + +

Today, October 13th, is the anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, Portugal. Pray to Our Lady of Fatima to protect the world from the continued spread of the "errors of Russia" whether it is in the form of atheism, socialism, marxism or humanism.

And as Cardinal Burke states in this video, pray also to Our Lady as she appeared in Guadalupe to protect the unborn and bring an end to abortion. And beyond that to defeat the anti-life forces which are spreading their poison throughout the world in the form of contraception, euthanasia and the destruction of the sacrament of marriage.

These are attacks on the Church that use the power of the government to undermine Church teaching and to ultimately defeat the Church herself. It is sadly obvious that their are many American bishops that are part of this movement. How else can we explain the silence or ambiguity from the American Church hierarchy when it comes to guiding Catholics in these elections?

I have not been a fan of Cardinal Dolan, head of the US Bishops, as you can easily tell by looking at my past articles here. I remained silent during the latest controversies with regards to his invitation of Obama to the Al Smith Dinner, but I cannot continue to remain silent.

My observation of Cardinal Dolan's past performance on the life issues including his abysmal performance in regards to the passing of legislation legitimizing "homosexual marriage" in New York leads me to conclude that he is not wholeheartedly defending Catholic teaching as he is called to do as a bishop of his flock. If the past is any guide then we will hear the most ferocious attacks on Obama after the elections -- if Obama wins reelection. I pray that this won't happen.

Abp. Dolan's tendency seems to be to do too little too late. If only he would speak out forcefully now when it makes a difference. If only he would instruct the local bishop in Albany, New York (Bishop Hubbard) to refuse communion to Governor Cuomo as Cardinal Burke states is required according to Canon Law.

As Cardinal Burke informs us in this video, the public scandal caused by openly pro-abortion and pro-"homosexual marriage" Catholic politicians and judges being continued to be allowed to receive communion leads others to the mistaken conclusion that the Church has changed its pro-life teachings or at the least does not consider them to be all that important. But what other conclusion can anyone draw from this inaction?

Cardinal Dolan needs to offer a response to Cardinal Burke without injecting so many ambiguous statements that the answer becomes open to interpretation. But then I suppose we already have his response in the form of the "Faithful Citizenship" guide for voters for 2012 from the US Catholic Bishops. This document is so ambiguous and so open to interpretation that one can only conclude that this is a deliberate act in order to misrepresent Church teaching in the area of abortion and "homosexual marriage" and in order to offer a false moral shield for American Catholics to vote for anti-life candidates -- especially those from the Democratic Party.

It is just this sort of "passive" resistance to Church teaching by the American Bishops that has brought us to the point that we are at today where American society is morally crumbling. The "errors of Russia" have spread to America and through our global leadership they have spread around the world.

As we enter into the Year of Faith as declared by Pope Benedict XVI let us pray that there will be an end to this folly. And that the Catholic Church in America will become a shining light on a hill as Christ asked of all of his followers.